Tetum or Belu
Women’s Ceremonial Bracelet, buti-liman or riti
3.5 inches by 2.75 inches. 1.25 at opening.
Jewelry is more to the people of Timor then just adornment. Aside from beautifying the wearer it also represents many things to the Timorese people such as social rank, marriage alliance, political markers, family heirlooms and ritual objects for dance. It is believed that bracelets such as this one actually takes on supernatural powers when used in dance ceremonies called adat. Silver itself is not found in Timor so their main source of silver was Dutch and Portuguese coins that would be melted down and made into jewelry. Silver is the most popular choice of metal for Belu people. The bracelets worn during the adat ceremonies that are worn by men and women are often large, heavy and can easily be seen by the viewer. This one decorated with seven bells makes a beautiful sound that helps to accentuate the dancer’s movements. Formed knobs and spirals further embellish it towards the opening.